The White Lady

Friday, October 5, 2012

The White Lady – Corner Commerce Street & Fort Street,
Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$9.50 NZD / $7.60 AUD
Summary

In this day and age it’s not often you come across an establishment that’s been dishing out burgers for over 60 years. What’s even more surprising is that the joint is located in little downtown Auckland. This long white bus/trailer, converted diner on-wheels, is in many ways the original food truck (check it out). With the same family at the helm since 1948, the White Lady has become famous for their late night/very early morning hangover preventions/cures. Currently open Monday to Thursday from 730pm to 3am and 24 hours from Friday to Sunday, there’s no wonder so many locals vouch for its greasy healing properties. Weathered and in need of a fresh lick of paint doesn’t deter a soul though. The charm and elegance that the White Lady delivers has taken it to the #1 spot of “What to do in New Zealand” by Lonely Planet. Not being avid readers of the publication, we actually stumbled upon the neon clad bus early one morning and cursed our NZ buddies who forgot to mention this institution to us. We ordered and vowed to come back the next day to experience the burger with clear heads. We took our turn in a busy lunch time line and ordered the Cheeseburger that came on a traditional burger bun with a 100% New Zealand beef pattie, grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese and tomato sauce.

Comments
“I am an absolute sucker for nostalgia and when I found out this place was founded in 1948 and had barely changed since, the thought of having the same burger experience as someone over half a century ago made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As expected there was nothing fancy or pretentious about this burger. However what did surprise me (as I don’t think I’d ever had it before), was that the cheese was melted to the top of the lightly toasted bun instead of over the beef. The beef was perfectly seasoned but it was the grilled onions that added the greatest flavour and texture. Having first tried this burger drunk at 3am it was reassurring that it tasted just as good second time around, sober and during the day.”
“This burger was made for eating whilst standing – nicely wrapped and compact. The cheese was melted onto the bun like butter on hot toast. There’s not not much else that needs to be said about this burger. The pattie was thin and very tasty. The sweet caramelised onions perfectly capped off the burger and made it a complete meal. In my opinion no chips were needed. Next time in NZ I will definitely be going back!”
“When you’re on an epic Burger Adventure like we are and you come across a piece of history like this, it almost brings a tear to your eye. Whether it was 3am or 3pm the service was impeccable and burgers were delivered with a smile. The small-ish burger is easy to manage and does a great job of holding all of the fresh ingredients together. The dominant flavour for me was the sweetness from the onions and, when paired with a creamy cheese and salty meat pattie almost made for a perfect diner style burger. This is the place to come to in New Zealand, whether you’re after a burger or just want to soak up a piece of history.”


Chapel Bar & Bistro

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chapel Bar & Bistro – 147 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Chapel Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$19.50 NZD / $15.45 AUD
Summary

Known as “the Local” along Auckland’s trendy Ponsonby Rd, the Chapel is everything you want it to be, when you want it to be. With dim-mood lighting and a roaring fireplace, its the perfect destination to take that special lady friend or, grab some mates and order some of their famous pizzas, have a drink or two and flirt with the waitresses. Their staff in fact are one of the key factors in Chapel’s success. They say that they’re “carefully selected for their knowledge, personality and willingness to go the extra mile.” We in-fact experienced this first hand when we ran into some of the staff that night on a drunken Auckland dance floor. On a rainy NZ day we took our seat outside under the cover of their terrace and ordered the Chapel Burger which came on a soft NZ style bun (becoming a trend now) with caramelised onion, grilled bacon, cheddar cheese, house smoked tomato relish, pickles on the side & hand cut chips.

Comments
“There was a reason no one else was sitting outside; it was about 6 degrees out there and inside it was warm and cosy with music playing. But majority rules and I lost so we sat outside. Research has proven one of the cures to freezing your tits off is a nice burger so luckily this burger eased some of the pain. The beef was packed full of herbs and was highly processed. It reminded me of the kind of beef pattie you get from the supermarket in a BBQ pack actually. Although not the best quality, for some reason if you burn the crap out of it and leave some char, it really tastes ok. The char mixed with the caremalised onions gave a really great combo of sweetness and pepper notes, whilst the thick bacon against the soft bun softened the overall texture. Finally common sense prevailed and we moved inside to start drinking.”
“The burger was cooked evenly and the right amount of seasoning and herbs. The chutney was awesome, but did make the burger very peppery and as a result made every bite taste pretty similar. The onions were sweet and caramelized to perfection. I enjoyed the bacon in the burger but the rocket leaves weren’t doing it any real favours. The hand cut chips really pissed me off and made me hate myself for ordering them because they were too thick and too painful to eat. After the meal I realised that thin fries were an option and I would definitely recommend adding that in your meal combo.”
“This being my 2nd NZ burger, it was interesting to see that they both used pretty much the same sort of buns (claiming these as NZ Burger Buns from now on). As the last place, it was soft as burger buns get. Once you bite into the pattie you definietly notice a bit of spice. Then looking at your burger you saw the multicoloured levels of herbs that are used throughout the mince. My burger wasn’t evenly cooked which was dissapointing: the edges were much more pink than the centre. But I did really enjoy the bacon mixed with smokey chutney. Yes I’ll complain about the chips as well, purely for the fact that “if something ain’t broke don’t fix it” – french fries would’ve done nicely. Overall the burger was good, but I felt like the pattie got a bit lazy and left all of the other ingredients do most of the leg work.”


Velvet Burger

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Velvet Burger – 18 Fort Street, Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Hottie
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$9.90 NZD / $7.70 AUD
Summary

Velvet Burger first opened its doors in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island back in 2006. Since then they’ve gone onto open another location in Auckland followed by yet another second offering in Dunedin. Being very proud of their New Zealand heritage, they have signed their own treaty that promises to provide the best gourmet burger experience, which involves beer, being open really late and then providing comfort from your hangover (pretty much suits us perfectly). They also offer a menu that includes nearly every animal option to sit on a burger like beef, lamb, venison, fish or chicken. With D & Z super keen to begin their NZ Burger Adventure, they got on some extra early flights and headed straight for Velvet Burger. Looking at the menu for approximately 23 seconds it was pretty obvious that they’d opt for the Hottie. It came out on a soft burger bun with beef, grilled mango, chilli mayonnaise, Velvet relish, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and red onion.

Comments
“I have to admit that when it first came out it didn’t look that appealing; a fairly non-descript bun blocking much of the view of the ingredients. It was only when I picked it up did I realise how soft and perfect this bun was for the sweet, spicy and creamy goodness that lay inside. The beef was cooked delightfully but the real star of the show was the combination of the sweetness of the juicy mango matched in contrast to the spicyness of the chilli mayo. Of course I had trepidation about a burger that had fruit in it as it could’ve gone horribly wrong… however these guys got it very right. This, plus surroundings of exposed brick, a large timber bar, South American uni students and plasmas with the sport channel playing made for quite the enjoyable experience.”
“My first burger in New Zealand and I was eager to see what our southern neighbours could come up with. Alas, it came out pretty flat and I already started to feel a smidge disappointed. But then as D removed the top bun to inspect his burger, a rush of wonder began to take over my tastebuds. Because that’s when I saw all that juicy, colourful mango begging to be consumed. “What the hell is this going to taste like!”, I thought. Then as I took my first bite it struck me; I knew exactly why they call this place Velvet Burger. It was so soft you could skydive into the burger and probably survive*. With every bite I’d taste the lingering sweetness of the mango, the soft bun and the decent chilli kick. Then the beef came in every now and then to remind you why you’re not a vegetarian. The other thing I loved about the mango was that it acted as three ingredients in one. The creaminess that it created meant you didn’t need to add cheese, egg or mayo! This was also one of the first times I’d eaten cucumbers in a store-bought-burger; and I welcome them. They’re a fresh take on a pickle that work especially well with the summer theme of the Hottie. A really interesting take on a burger that I by all means would order again.”


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